Charles Harris, a graduate from the Class of '63 at George Washington Carver High School in Columbus, never thought the school on the hill would look like it did Saturday.
"It is outstanding. It looks real good," Harris said. "I didn't think we would have anything like this, not on this hill."
Harris was among the hundreds of alumni, educators, elected officials and visitors gathered in the school gymnasium to dedicate the 225,000-square-foot building. The event at 3100 Eighth St. gave Muscogee County School Board members and others a chance to thank the community for approving a 2009 Local Option Sales Tax that paved the way for the $37 million school. They also highlighted opportunities the school opens for students.
U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop Jr., D-Albany, said the nation put a man on the moon and invented the Internet in the last century, but now all the scientists are coming from China and India. "The future of the country rests in the hands of our young people," he said.
In the future, Bishop said he believes the best and brightest won't be coming from abroad but from one of the most technologically advanced school in the southeast. Carver is part of the Science Technology Engineering Mathematics Education Coalition.
During the demolition to clear the old school from the site, Beth Harris, a District 8 board member and Carver graduate, told the crowd she didn't know what the school meant to her until she saw the lot. "Until I pulled in here and saw it was gone, I had no idea how much it meant to me," she said.
Although the school is renewed with a new facility, Harris noted the importance of school spirit.
"This building is just a building," she said. "That building was just a building. It is the Carver spirit that runs through this hill and this community."
Naomi Buckner, a 1970 graduate and a District 4 board member, couldn't help but think about the journey the school has experienced over the last four decades. She recalled how Principal S. P. Charleston was an educator who stressed the importance of education. "He was a person of character and integrity," she said.
Principal Christopher Lindsey praised the efforts of the District 1 School Board Member Pat Hugley-Green, the Carver Alumni and business owner Ronzell Buckner who made a presentation to the school board to call for a new school. He said there was talk about moving the school to a bigger site with more land but alumni said no. "We stayed on the hill," Lindsey said. "Isn't this a beautiful facility."